If you’ve been dreaming of a summer vacation, you don’t actually have to leave the city. There’s so many cute towns near Ottawa that will make you feel like you’re a whole world away from home, and most of them are just around the corner! A staycation has never looked so good.

Ottawa is a wonderful city, and locals are so lucky to be able to enjoy awesome hikes, top-notch architecture, and, ofcourse, word-class shawarma.

However, sometimes it can get a little tedious being stuck in the same place, and it’s easy to start dreaming about exploring new places and having new adventures.

If you’re tired of the hustle and bustle of big city life, there’s so many cute places that you can escape to that are just a short drive from the national capital.

From secret islands with floating castles, to golden beaches and turquoise coloured lagoons, there’s all sorts of secret mini-paradises that are just waiting to be discovered.

Before you consider booking a hotel and catching a flight, why not explore some of Canada’s very own local wonders first? You might just be surprised! 

Wakefield

Address: Wakefield, La Pêche, QC

Why You Need To Go: Less than 30 minutes outside of Ottawa is the extraordinary village of Wakefield. Escape your day-to-day life by experiencing North America's highest bungee jump, or unwind in the town's hidden, turquoise -coloured lagoon at Morrison's Quarry.

Gananoque

Address: Gananoque, ON

Why You Need To Go: Less than two hours from Ottawa, you can explore the stunning sights of Gananoque, which borders the United States. Here, you’ll find mini-cruises which will take you to visit lighthouses, mansions, islands and even castles.

Thrill seekers can also go kayaking through the 1000 Islands region, or jump from a plane that’s three miles in the air!

Montebello

Address: Montebello, Quebec

Why You Need To Go: Just one hour away from Ottawa, you can take a mini-vacation like no other. In Montebello you’ll find the magnificent Fairmont Le Château Montebello, the world’s largest log castle. Here, you can unwind in their resort-style spa, relax in the mesmerizing lobby, and wander around the château’s incredible premises and nearby lake.

If that wasn’t enough, this place is just minutes from Parc Omega, a drive-thru wildlife experience that allows you to get up close and personal with bears, moose and even wolves.

Prince Edward County

Address: Prince Edward County, ON

Why You Need To Go: You don't need to head overseas to find Carribean-style golden sands. Just three hours from Ottawa is the glorious Sandbanks Provincial Park, where you’ll find sugary sand and crystal clear waters. This little slice of paradise is one of the best spots to swim, sunbathe and slow down in Ontario.

Perth

Address: Perth, ON

Why You Need To Go: This pretty town is filled with history, and there’s 19th-century buildings on almost every corner. The Tay River bridges have got serious Amsterdam-vibes, and you’ll feel a world away from downtown Ottawa in this European-style heritage village.

Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham

Address: Sainte-Cécile-de-Masham, La Pêche, QC

Why You Need To Go: In this small village, you'll be able to escape the hustle and bustle of city life by getting back-to-basics with nature. There's a hidden marble cave here that's thousands of years old, and you even can go adventuring inside it.

While you’re exploring these underground wonders, you’d never believe you were just 45 minutes from the city.

Almonte

Address: Almonte, Lanark County, ON

Why You Need To Go: Located just 25 minutes from the Canadian Tire Centre, this sweet village is a great spot for a relaxing afternoon out. If you think it looks like it’s a place from a movie, that’s because it is! This town has been used in several Hallmark movies, so it should almost certainly be on your Ottawa weekend bucket list!

Heart Island

Address: Heart Island, Alexandria Bay, NYC

Why You Need To Go: In under two hours, you could drive to a completely different country, and explore a castle on an island that looks fit for a Disney princess. You’ll be able to walk the grounds of this exquisite building, and take some Instagram photos that would make even real royalty feel jealous.

Boldt Castle, located on Heart Island, can be reached via boat tour from Alexandria Bay.

Mont-Tremblant 

Address: Mont-Tremblant, QC

Why You Need To Go: While this beautiful spot is known for its exceptional skiing opportunities in the winter, it’s also a wonderful place to spend a summer's day. The colourful ski village is as bright and beautiful as ever under a blue sky, and there’s countless activities to enjoy in the area.

Whether you enjoy hiking, biking, golf or even just taking cute pictures for Instagram, Mont Tremblant has got you covered.

Little Italy

Address: Little Italy, Ottawa, ON

Why You Need To Go: While Little Italy is a popular destination for many Ottawans, it’s one of the best places to visit when you want to say goodbye to your day-to-day life. With Italian-inspired bakeries, restaurants and gelato stops on every corner, it’s like taking a mini vacation without leaving the city.

Chelsea

Address: Chelsea, QC

Why You Need To Go: Just 15 minutes outside of Ottawa, Chelsea is the perfect place to go if you’ve only got a few hours to spare. This quaint town has so much to offer visitors, including so many awesome hiking opportunities.

If you really want to pamper yourself, head to the jaw-dropping Nordik Spa-Nature, where you can indulge in epic relaxation in North America’s largest spa.